Shivani Vig

It is that time of the year again for practical jokes to bring out the best in people.  April 1 provides not only an annual merriment, but it marks a day when general wackiness prevails. It’s a day to relive 'for-fun-only' spirit.  April fool’s Day is a celebration of laughter and jokes celebrated in many countries around the world including India.

Nobody gets off work or school. Nobody is expected to buy gifts nor are they expected to exchange the special greetings. It's just a funny, crazy start of the month where one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April fool!

The day offers an opportunity to rejuvenate a spirit of fun and amusement, which otherwise gets lost in the hustle-bustle of life, as April 1 is celebrated across the world as the official day to play tricks, pranks, jokes, hoaxes, etc. on any suspecting gullible person.  Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"

Practical jokes are a common practice on April fool’s Day. Pranks performed on 'F' Day range from being simple - such as saying, “Your shoe lace is untied!” to the elaborated ones like setting a roommate's alarm clock back an hour.

While the day is marked by cracking jokes, sending someone on a foolish errand or just looking for things that don't exist, sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day.

Though the first day of April marks the beginning of new financial year, but for those born on this day, April fool’s Day provides a day of spoofs and larks,  may refrain them from birthday wishes.

As for Ankit, a call centre executive who happens to celebrate his birthday on April 1. He recalls that how his classmates and even teachers used to tease him before wishing him birthday wishes.

"This has been a drawback that for getting birthday wishes from the acquaintances, I used to convince them about my real birthday date, as they never believed on what I said," exclaims Ankit with a grin on his face.

As the F Day calls for funny-pranks, many psychologists believe that playing pranks is very important in the development of one’s psyche. "They serve to test one's skepticism and perceptual ability to determine the differences between reality and a joke," point psychologists.

The tricks played help in counterfactual thinking, which is simply replaying significant events in one's mind to cognitively respond to them with different outcomes.

So, just play pranks, and try to get people to believe in ridiculous things. And the moment you get freaky message or call flashing on your mobile or computer, feel privileged to be celebrating the F Day with someone close.

History and Tradition of Fool's Day

# The exact origins of April Fool's Day are shrouded in mystery, although most historians agree that it was linked to the New Years Day celebrations. April Fool’s Day had its beginnings in the confusion as people switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1582.

# People living in rural areas (i.e. yokels) apparently didn't get Pope Gregory XIII's memo and celebrated the New Year according to the old Julian calendar which landed in April under the new system.  Thus, they were "April Fools."

# They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes. This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April.

# In Scotland, April fool’s Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body.

# Mexico's counterpart of April fool’s Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.
# Bulgarian historians say that the month of April was an erratic month with unpredictable weather and thus named it the Day of the Lie. This introduced much hilarity and prank playing, which is consistent with the way other countries celebrate this event.

Few of the great pranks of all time

*In 1998, Burger King published a full-page ad in USA Today announcing the introduction of a menu item - a Left-Handed Whopper, uniquely designed with all the condiments rotated 180 degrees. Thousands of customers went to BK to request the new sandwich.

* In 1993, a deejay at KGB-FM in San Diego announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and soon would land at Montgomery Field. Thousands of commuters immediately headed to the landing site, which caused huge traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour.

*In 1976, a British astronomer announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 a.m., planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, which would lessen the Earth's gravity and allow listeners to float in the air if they jumped at that exact moment. When the time arrived, BBC2 received hundreds of phone calls from people claiming to have felt the floating sensation.

* In 1957, the BBC news show "Panorama" announced Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop due to mild winter. The report included footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Large numbers of viewers were fooled, with many of them calling in to find out how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.

Know What They Say About Fools.......

#April 1 is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year-- Mark Twain.

# A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees-- William Blake.
# It is better to be a fool than to be dead. -- Stevensone.

# Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom-- Elizabeth Gaskell. 

Play a Prank this Fool's Day!

*After everyone's asleep, set all the clocks ahead one hour. Then wake everyone up (at the usual time) screaming about how they overslept, missed the bus, are going to be late for school or work, etc.

*An old trick, glue a coin to the ground. It is great to watch as people come and try to pick up the coin.

*Fill out a "while you were out" phone message, and put down the number to the local zoo as the contact phone number.

* Leave a note on a co-worker's desk saying he has flowers to pick up at the front desk. Leave a similar phone message from an unknown caller.Then watch and laugh as he tries to convince the front desk to give him flowers that just aren't there.

* Put ads in a local alternative newspaper advertising "free phone talk". Enter your friend's name and phone number. Keep renewing the ad until your friend starts enjoying the calls from perverted men.

* Mess with the brightness/contrast of the person's computer screen so that it looks as if the monitor is not coming on when pushed on. It is funny to watch them turn everything on and off over and over again trying to get the screen to display.